Life is busy and we can make it harder than it needs to be, but one area we do not want to skimp on is in the area of self-love. So keep reading for some simple ways to both give and receive self-love.
I generally know when a client has been neglecting themselves or doesn't think self-love is all that important by either their exasperated sigh or the eye-roll. The running theme is that they don't have the time. Yet, when I ask them to keep a log of all their activity for an entire week, I see all kinds of space in their day to fit in a little self-love.
If you just spent half an hour scrolling mindlessly through social media platforms - you had time for a little lovin'. If you decluttered that one catch-all drawer out of boredom - you had time for self-love. I get it, there's the mentality that there isn't much of a reward or incentive, not like getting a sale, making a new connection, or getting instant gratification. There doesn't seem to be this tangible thing - something you can hold or see, to prompt or inspire you to do something for yourself.
I get it because I used to find self-love impossible, it was somewhat of a trigger word for me. As a former people-pleaser I found satisfaction from giving and doing for others. So much so that it got way out of hand. It's in our nature to be loving, and easier to love someone else - almost anyone else other than ourselves. Of course if you put too much focus on someone's shortcomings, you will find less to love about them - and if you are focused on what you perceive are your shortcomings, you may not find yourself lovable at all.
Self-love isn't about trying to see beyond what you think are issues and problems. It's about honoring your self-worth and value through loving, kind words, gestures, and compassionate thoughts to yourself, from yourself, of yourself, and for yourself.
You may find it difficult to incorporate self-love if you don't even like to be in your own company. I've had many clients who were surprised to discover that they actually didn't like themselves and couldn't stand to be alone in a room with themselves. Clearly if you don't like yourself it's a challenge to love yourself, so your first step is starting to fall in like with yourself so you can fall in love with yourself.
The first step is to practice the practice of self-love (or self-like). As you know, if you try something new, it takes practice to make it a practice that then turns into a habit, and at some point becomes second nature. Keep the practice simple. Choose a time in the week to add yourself to your calendar. Then honor that time. Even if you are resistant, honor the time you marked for yourself. See yourself as important. Come at it without any expectations or desired outcome.
Then put yourself on the calendar again. Only this time, consider something like making yourself a delicious tea. Put on some nice music, or if it's a nice day, grab a chair and sit outside, without any distractions, and savor that tea. Repeat as often as possible, and get creative, what else might you enjoy?
Here are some simple ways to add self-care to your days:
Pick yourself flowers or set up a monthly floral delivery
Bake yourself a delicious treat that feels indulgent, and enjoy every last nibble
Make a playlist of your favorite music - or several
Gather essential oils, lavender, flower petals, bath salts, and candles for a luxurious bath
Create a small self-love altar and dedicate time to sit in the energy of it each day
Write yourself a love note
Write yourself a permission slip to carve out time and space for yourself
Put on slow music and gently move your body - give your self-critic the day off
Make a gratitude list
Say loving, kind, compassionate words to yourself - bonus: say them in front of the mirror
Make a list of all the things you like about yourself - and for a bonus add list what you love about yourself
Take an afternoon siesta
Have fun with colors, paints, crystals, decorations, hobbies - get creative (self-critic isn't invited)
Light a candle and as you watch the flame dance, breathe deeply
Sit with one hand on your belly and the other on your heart, and breathe - inhale love for yourself, exhale doubt and uncertainty - repeat ten to fifteen times
Start a new book - something that takes you on an adventure or sweeps you away into a fantasy world, or makes you laugh
Get outdoors: hug a tree, plant seeds, spend time by water, listen to bird songs, try a new trail, simply be
Sing in the shower
Write in your journal or write some poetry
Do yoga, stretch, or meditate
Beautify a small space that is just for yourself
Make a little getaway with some sheets or scarves - create a little fort or tent and add in some pillows and mementos that you love. Hang out in it and swap stories with your inner child
Keep in mind that the focus here is on what you give and receive to and from yourself. I don't include getting a facial, nails done, haircut, or something that someone else does for you. It's not about buying yourself something (with the exception of flowers or a book). It's also not about external things. Self-love is an inside job. It's acceptance of who you are, as you are. Being enough. Not needing "more". Mostly it's about reconnecting in the quiet moments with yourself, tuned in, listening, in surrender.
As you practice self-love (or self-like into self-love) it calms anxiety, quiets the endless mind-chatter, becomes a pleasure rather than a chore, boosts self-confidence, mutes the self-critic, and promotes inner growth. Best of all it naturally allows you to honor, respect, and align to your most authentic and aligned self.
Self-love takes practice, patience, and compassion. Choose one or two ideas from above. Give yourself a grace period. Let it take whatever time it needs. You are on an infinite journey with yourself. Love is the way.